Notre Dame College’s Academic Support Center for Students with Learning Differences Receives $250,000

Notre Dame College has received a $250,000 gift from the Smiley Family Charitable Foundation to support the capital campaign for its Academic Support Center for Students with Learning Differences. The funds will be used to help establish an endowment for the Center and as a lead gift toward naming the Center after Arthur J. Noetzel and his daughter Gretchen Noetzel Walsh.  The endowment goal is $1.5 million.

The late Arthur J. Noetzel Jr., Ph.D., was academic vice president (AVP) and dean of the School of Business at John Carroll University and professor of business administration. A legend for more than 45 years at John Carroll, Noetzel was one of the University’s longest-serving AVPs and a force in establishing and growing the University’s business school. He also was one of seven alumni who founded the organization that grew into the Entrepreneurs Association.

In 2005, Notre Dame College established the Academic Support Center for Students with Learning Differences with Gretchen Noetzel Walsh as its first and only director. It is now a nationally recognized center of excellence and one of Notre Dame's jewels, providing educational opportunities and creating pathways to success for students with learning differences.

In announcing the grant, Notre Dame College President Andrew P. Roth, Ph.D., said “This generous gift will help the Center continue in the spirit of Arthur Noetzel who believed every person, regardless of challenges, should have the opportunity to reach his or her greatest potential. It also appropriately recognizes his daughter, Gretchen Noetzel Walsh, the founder and only director of the Center, who has dedicated her life to carrying out her father’s vision.”

“Every day the Center offers quality educational opportunities and support services to individuals with documented learning differences, a group traditionally underserved in post-secondary education. We are extremely grateful to the donors, whose generous commitment reflects upon their character and their belief that the good work we are doing is making a difference, and is worth investing in,”continued Roth.

Ray Smiley, speaking on behalf of the family’s philanthropic organization, remarked, “We have long admired the efforts of the College in serving a segment of the population often bypassed in higher education. It is our wish to be a meaningful vehicle to sustain the Academic Support Center in its continuing vision to offer quality college-capable students with documented learning differences the ability to earn a recognized degree. It is a privilege to provide base financial support to help make that possible in recognition of the Noetzel family who have done so much to help assure a college education to many deserving students who may have otherwise been overlooked.”

Notre Dame is an integrated campus with 132 ASC students among more than 1,400 full-time and 2,250 total students blended together in all of the traditional experiences of college life. While Academic Support Center students form a cohort that receives personalized attention adapted to their special needs, they share a common goal of attaining baccalaureate degrees and succeeding in careers and in life.

Anyone interested in helping the College help reach the $1.5 million endowment goal is encouraged to contact Maureen Ischay, Executive Director of Development, at 216.373.5335 or mischay@ndc.edu.